Longs make a national impact

Published 3:45 pm Tuesday, April 10, 2012

By NEAL WAGNER / Staff Writer

I always enjoy getting a chance to spend time with the great folks at Easter Seals in Pelham. A quick visit to their Pediatric Therapy Services building off U.S. 31 quickly reveals some of the great things the organization is doing for children in our community who are facing disabilities.

I’m also glad U.S. Rep. Spencer Bachus took time out of his schedule to visit with staff members, children and parents at the center earlier this week.

While there, Bachus got a chance to meet a family I have had the pleasure of speaking with several times over the last few years: the Longs.

Drew Ann and David Long’s daughter, Caroline, has Rett syndrome, a nervous system disorder that makes it hard for Caroline to use her hands or communicate.

A few years ago, the Longs were facing a problem that many other parents of special-needs children deal with often: shopping at the grocery store.

When Caroline was younger, it was easy for her to fit into the child seat of a standard shopping cart. But as she got older, Caroline quickly outgrew the regular carts stocked by most grocery stores.

After years of planning and hard work, the Longs have developed and successfully marketed a shopping cart capable of accommodating older children facing disabilities.

While speaking with Bachus at Easter Seals, the Longs said they have found a company in Birmingham to manufacture the carts. The carts will then be shipped to a Georgia distribution company, where they will be shipped out to retailers across the nation.

“We could have had them made in China three years ago,” David Long said, noting the family wanted to ensure the carts were made in America.

I applaud the Long family for working so hard to make life better for children facing disabilities and their families across the nation.

Neal Wagner is the City Editor for the Shelby County Reporter. He can be reached at 669-3131 ext. 17 or by email at neal.wagner@shelbycountyreporter.com.